R Dutta Choudhury
GUWAHATI, April 25 - Assam witnessed high voltage election campaigns in the run up to the Lok Sabha polls with frequent visits by the Prime Minister and presidents and other senior leaders of both the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress. But a few prominent personalities including sitting Rajya Sabha members from Assam were not seen during the campaigns.
Though former Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, who is a Rajya Sabha member from Assam, visited Guwahati on April 23 to cast his vote, he did not attend any election rally in the State. Two other Rajya Sabha members from the State – Sanjay Singh and Ranee Narah were also not seen during the election campaign in the state.
When asked to comment on the absence of senior leaders during the election campaign, Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) general secretary Apurba Bhattacharjee said that Dr Singh is an integral part of the strategy making body of the All India Congress Committee (AICC) and he is busy in the party headquarters. However, Dr Singh was in regular touch with the APCC and is fully aware of the ground situation.
Bhattacharjee said that Sanjay Singh is contesting the Lok Sabha polls from Uttar Pradesh and that is why he could not find time to visit Assam, while, “Ranee Narah is not keeping well.”
The APCC general secretary said that the Congress president Rahul Gandhi visited Assam four times in the run up to the polls to address election rallies in different parts of the State, while, the AICC in charge of Assam Harish Rawat was constantly in the State. Other senior leaders of the party including Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot and others visited the State. Priyanka Gandhi visited Silchar and Bhattacharjee said that the APCC would have liked her to visit more areas, but she could not do so because of time constraint. He said that senior leaders from other states were brought to Assam as per requirement only.